Washington’s Sheepherders

On a warm summer morning, dozens of miles away from civilization out in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Geronimo De La Cruz sits on a tree stump and watches over a flock of sheep.

The Visual Essay on Peruvian Sheepherders

Fermin Salomon corrals sheep at the Martinez lambing camp in Mabton.
Photo by: Sofia Jaramillo

Let Nature Change Your Mind

Lake Serene sits just south of Mount Index in the Central Cascades range, glistening high above Gold Bar at an elevation of about 2,500 feet. A serene state of mind is harder to geolocate, but according to recent brain science, a walk in the woods will get you there, too.

Why Excursions in Nature Soothe Our Brains

The forest through which the Lake Serene Trail passes.
Photo by: Jon Levesque

The People-Powered Coffee House

Luis and Leona Rodriguez met at Seattle’s Nathan Hale High School. Some 20-plus years later, the couple operates The Station, one of Seattle’s most popular independent coffee shops, in the heart of their longtime neighborhood of Beacon Hill.

Hear from the People Powering The Station

Luis and Leona Rodriguez, owners of The Station
Photo by Melissa Ponder

Frank-ness and Conciliation for Times Past and Present

What to make of a defiant man who was arrested more than 50 times during his younger years and accused by our state of a crime that he fought all the way to the United States Supreme Court on the principle that it was, in fact, no crime at all? Who battled for much of his life, was cursed at by state and federal officials and reveled in being a living example of civil disobedience—all to make the larger point that cooperation was the key to our survival?

What to make of Billy Frank Jr.?

Photo by: Glenn Nelson

Perspectives

A place for sharing ideas and inspiring actions. We invite all thinkers and doers, writers and artists, creators and implementers to challenge us, engage us, inform us with words and images and sounds.
Ampersand Live, Video

2017 Ampersand LIVE

Ampersand LIVE was an incredible evening. From Jehan’s incredulous retelling of the time she ran from lightning towards the jaws of a Grizzly bear, to Paul’s intimate war portraits of iconic creatures threatened by climate change, to Jade’s heartrending dance, to Okanomode’s high notes, to Bill’s recipe for “goo,” there were so many unforgettable and thought-provoking moments—all punctuated by gorgeous harmonies from The Westerlies. It was a night filled with gratitude, amazement, love and hope for our Pacific Northwest.

Continue

Ampersand, Issue VI

A Letter from Forterra

With this 6th issue of Ampersand, we have now collected 72 stories about the people and surrounding landscapes that make this the Pacific Northwest we love. Stories about what makes the place tick and stories about people working to make sure it never stops. I’ve set myself a job to connect the dots between some of the latest of these stories—those appearing in this edition. They’re my connections; you’ll have different ones, but no matter, together they sum to a vibrant resiliency for this place, which is what Forterra is about.

Continue

Ampersand, Featured, Issue VI

Washington’s Sheepherders

On a warm summer morning, dozens of miles away from civilization out in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Geronimo De La Cruz sits on a tree stump and watches over a flock of sheep. Wind wisps through pine trees, the sun gleams down. De La Cruz spends most of the year in solitude. Following the seasonal grazing schedules of sheep, he travels across vast swaths of land, moving hundreds of the animals throughout Eastern Washington.

Continue

Ampersand, Issue VI

Frank-ness and Conciliation for Times Past and Present

What to make of a defiant man who was arrested more than 50 times during his younger years and accused by our state of a crime that he fought all the way to the United States Supreme Court on the principle that it was, in fact, no crime at all? Who battled for much of his life, was cursed at by state and federal officials and reveled in being a living example of civil disobedience—all to make the larger point that cooperation was the key to our survival?

Continue

Ampersand, Issue VI

the garden at higo

1—an imaginary page from chiyo murakami’s diary 1936
2—KOBO comes to Higo

To the memory of the Higo Variety Store and Binko and John, owners of KOBO at Higo

Continue

Ampersand, Issue VI

A Garden Grows in Nihonmachi

A garden grows in Nihonmachi, just off a Jackson Street alley sandwiched between Kaname Izakaya Restaurant and Tiger Tiger Tattoo. Small, simple and sculpted with a wood deck and a wooden slats fence, it represents the resilience of Seattle’s Japanese and Japanese American community.

Continue

Ampersand, Issue VI

Let Nature Change Your Mind

Lake Serene sits just south of Mount Index in the Central Cascades range, glistening high above Gold Bar at an elevation of about 2,500 feet. You can access it by hiking a steadily inclining trail through old growth evergreens, abundant fern beds and mossy undergrowth. A serene state of mind is harder to geolocate, but according to recent brain science, a walk in the woods will get you there, too.

Continue

Ampersand, Issue VI

In Places We Trust

Go-to destinations are sacred because they liven our weary selves. They are escapes to wild or urban places. Sometimes such places are recent discoveries; sometimes, they have been with us for years, yet still ring new. These are some coveted spots.

Continue

Ampersand, Issue VI

The People-Powered Coffee House

Luis and Leona Rodriguez met at Seattle’s Nathan Hale High School. Some 20-plus years later, the couple operates The Station, one of Seattle’s most popular independent coffee shops, in the heart of their longtime neighborhood of Beacon Hill. The baristas—African American, transgender—whip spicy Mexican mochas from behind the counter while Kendrick Lamar or old-school Big Daddy Kane plays on the speakers. Opened in 2010, The Station welcomes people of all backgrounds—the parent with a baby, the campaign organizer, the musician planning the annual Block Party.

Continue

Ampersand, Issue VI

A New Season of Bird Watching

During my final year at university, a zoology course introduced me to bird watching. I found birding to be a relaxing pursuit that allowed me to immerse myself in nature’s peace while taking in all of its sights and sounds. My interest in feathered creatures grew over the years as I discovered birdcalls and observed new behaviors and flight patterns. Each bird walk I took was different. Most of all, I enjoyed the meditative quality of being out among the birds.

Continue

Ampersand, Issue VI

Inclusive Change for an Iconic Corner

In 2016, Africatown asked Forterra to help secure keystone land at 23rd Avenue and East Union Street—the epicenter of the neighborhood, and a place fraught with controversy over differing redevelopment plans. Months of negotiations succeeded in an agreement to acquire a portion of the block for affordable housing, neighborhood-based businesses and organizations and space for community gatherings. Now, Africatown and Forterra are teaming up with Capitol Hill Housing, a nonprofit housing developer, on next steps. Hear neighborhood residents’ thoughts on the impending change.

Continue

Ampersand, Issue VI

Lichens: Nature’s Ambient Noise

On acid rocks, rooftops and limestone gravestones, lichens are quiet explosions, the elegant blemishes of age and decay. Poets deem them stoic, statements of the liquid passage of time. Scientists call them useful, indicators of clean air. Their growth can be analyzed to approximate the ages of natural masses, like flints and moraines.

Continue

Blog

Top 7 Takeaways about Autonomous Cars

Wednesday evening saw around 100 curious folks pile into the Living Computers Museum and Lab in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood. The subject is one of great and growing curiosity—autonomous cars, and the myriad ways they’ll effect our lives.

Continue

Blog

Questioning Diversity

It’s a challenging moment in our country. In today’s harsh political calculus, diversity equals division, not addition, not multiplication. The way we see it, that’s wrong. We’re an organization of land advocates. Many of us were educated in biology and ecology. What you learn in those disciplines is that the healthiest, most resilient places are those with complexity.

Continue

Blog, Featured

Hiking to Lake Serene

We arrived at the parking lot of the trailhead in the early morning hours. The air was crisp and the sky a bit overcast. It was my first time to Lake Serene and I was incredibly excited to make the 4.1 mile trek into the woods to see it with my own eyes.

Continue

Blog, Gene's corner

The Community of the Eclipse

I wrote this post as a Sunday interlude 6 days and 5 hours since after our clocks struck 10:20 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, Monday August 21, the exact moment that the moon passed precisely in front of the sun to create a shadow across the northwest, to a greater or lesser extent. By the time we post this, the media mania of the moment will be onto something else, which assuredly will not be anywhere near as benign as a solar eclipse.

Continue

Blog, Gene's corner

Talking and Walking in Kittitas County

Two days of conversation with leaders across Kittitas County and one day of hiking. For the last few months and particularly over two concentrated days, we met with business leaders, advocates, planners, developers, farmers, elected officials and tribal leaders; to name some. The conversations only barely scratched the surface of course—of the richness of the place and the challenges it faces.

Continue

Blog, Video

A Conservation Conversation

Green Everett Partnership volunteer and UW Bothell student, Candice Magbag, set to find out in her class on restoration ecology. In her final project, Candice covers the history of Forterra and her perspectives on conservation. Read her guest post and watch her video below.

Continue

Blog

Development = Conservation

When you walk through South Lake Union, words you might think of include Amazon, Paul Allen, tech, REI, Vulcan, Pink Elephant, growth, MOHAI, development and… conservation? How our innovative program is transforming our region’s landscape.

Continue

Blog, Gene's corner

30 Years an Anchor of Place

Our first visit was in July 1985, short as it was. We were on our tandem and passing through, checking out places to get married. Our first stay was late April 1994, delightful as it was. By then, we had our two kids in tow, and Sina took her first steps on the cabin’s porch. We’ve been returning for a week most every year since.

Continue

Blog

Hugelkultur

Hugelkultur, have you heard of it? It’s like active composting while growing plants. This approach is believed to have originated in Europe as a technique for growing plants in places with harsh climates and short growing seasons. Directly translating to “hill culture,” it’s not fully known whether the name came from the hill-like garden it creates, or because it originated in the hill-towns of Europe.

Continue

Blog

Breakthrough at 23rd and Union will help sustain the historic Central District

Innovative land deal for “most controversial block in Seattle” makes a mark for inclusion and affordability in Seattle’s rapidly-changing Central District. Forterra teams with Africatown, Lake Union Partners, and Yesler Community Collaborative to make it possible.

Continue

Blog

Empower Happy Hour

What are the most impactful personal and business choices you can make to fight climate change? We recently posed this question to over 50 people at Empower Happy Hour—an event we co-hosted with Green Canopy Homes designed to bring people together and spark conversation about topics that matter in our community.

Continue

Blog

Fighting Climate Change One Tree at a Time

Over 2,000 trees were planted this year as a part of Forterra’s Evergreen Carbon Capture program and we have a lot of people to thank for making it happen!

Continue